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‘Same quality of care seven days a week’

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh (below) wants consultants working weekends at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh (below) wants consultants working weekends at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Health bosses in Blackpool have pledged to ensure services at the weekend will be no different to those offered Monday to Friday.

It comes as the director of the NHS, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, announces ambitious plans to have senior doctors and key diagnostic tests available seven days a week in hospitals across the country.

Under the plans, hospitals would face sanctions unless they delivered the same standard of care seven days a week.

A clause which allows hospitals to bar consultants from working at the weekend could also be removed from contracts.

But at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital, work is already going on to improve patient care throughout the week.

A spokesman said: “At the moment we have launched a Better Care Now campaign, which is designed to give patients the best possible pathway of care (their journey through the health service) no matter when they come to our hospitals.

“Better Care Now focuses on eliminating delays in care, improving patient pathways and ensuring we have the right professionals with the right skills to deliver high quality care.

“These pathways focus particularly on the first 24 to 36 hours of patient care to ensure that the right care is given by the right person at the right time, no matter what day of week the patient presents.”

Healthwatch Blackpool welcomed the news.

A spokesman said: “Although we have not had any problems reported to us about consultants not working weekends, we would welcome any increase in health provision.”

Announcing the plans, Mr Keogh said hospitals failing to provide full seven-day care could risk financial sanction and losing their right to use junior doctors in training.

‘Plans will help cut death risk’ - Sir Bruce Keogh

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh says plans to ensure hospitals across the country are providing the same level of care all through the week will help cut the increased death risk at weekends.

It comes after Blackpool Victoria Hospital was investigated this year because it had a higher-than-inspected death rate.

As revealed in The Gazette, bosses at The Vic say a lot of work has gone into improving its mortality rates, including providing a package of care for a number of chronic conditions.

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